February 19-25, 2019 (Week 8 of 52): Early Signs of Spring are Evident Even as Winter Persists

Buffalo-Niagara Nature Almanac

Winter conditions still dominate the Buffalo-Niagara Region. However, even with vernal equinox nearly a month away, early signs of spring are already evident. The best indicators of the advancing spring are provided by birds and mammals. Some great horned owls are already incubating eggs and most others will be on-nest by early March. Other raptors, including bald eagles, peregrine falcons, and red-tailed hawks have started to prepare nests and most will lay eggs by mid-March. Barred owls and eastern screech owls are increasingly vocal at this time and will soon start to establish nesting territories.

Flocks of male red-winged blackbirds are just beginning to reach our Region. These northbound migrants are returning to summer breeding areas where they will rapidly establish nesting territories. Their arrival suggests that other early migrant species such as killdeer, American robin, eastern bluebird, eastern meadowlark, common grackle, and brown-headed cowbird will soon follow. In response…

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